AN: Sort of a stupid one shot. But it niggled at the back of my brain.
Sacrifices. Dean's life had always been about sacrifices. Sam needed new shoes, he would go without, a family needed to be saved, no dad, no presents, no tree for Christmas, Sammy wanted a slice of normal, Dean was alone for four years, Sam is dead, Dean gives up his soul. Always. Ever since he was four years old, he had given everything he had ever had and then some. There was always someone who needed what he had more than he did, someone whose life would be made just that much better by his sacrifice. Never had he begrudged his lot in life, never begrudged those sacrifices.
Dean made those sacrifices for others, so they could be happy, and he never wanted that kind of life for his brother. He never wanted his brother to have to give up anything in order for someone else to survive, for someone else to be happy. But, out of all of the things that Sam could have picked up from him, of all of the things that he could have learned from his big brother, he learned how to sacrifice himself, his happiness, his life, his dreams, his hopes, to ensure that everyone else would be all right, to make sure that Dean was okay, to make sure that Bobby was okay. That was supposed to be his job. That should never have fallen into Sam's lap.
Dean sipped his coffee as he watched the sun come up over the horizon. It was going to be a warm day at the Singer Salvage yard. There was a lot to do now, since he and Sam lived wit Bobby, there were cars to fix, hunts to research for other hunters, and other things, things he had to do, wanted to do, needed to do, but loathed doing.
He finished his coffee and was putting the cup in the sink when he heard the old grizzeled hunter come up behind him.
"You ready to get the day started son?"
"I guess." Dean said with a nod and a sigh. "He must want up. He went to bed early last night." Dean mused and followed Bobby to the bedroom off of the kitchen. Dean knocked, knowing that he would get no answer, but it always felt better for him to knock, to give Sam that preparation, that illusion of privacy, that semblance of dignity.
Dean opened the door, and he and Bobby began the perfunctory dance of getting Sam up and prepared for the day. "Hiya Sammy." Dean said softly and brushed hair away from Sam's closed eyes. "Sammy. Time to get up. The sun is rising. You know, early bird gets the worm and all of that crap. Come on." Slowly those eyes opened, and hazel, sleepy hazel, appeared and found their way to Dean's green. They looked happy, and content. "You have a good dream last night?" he asked as he and Bobby prepared to get him out of the bed. Sam blinked once indicating that he had a good dream.
Dean smiled. "You've been having those a lot lately. That's a good thing." Dean said as he and Bobby hoisted Sam's useless body into his wheel chair. "Are we hurting you?" Dean asked and Sam blinked twice for no. "I don't believe you exactly Sam. It can't be comfortable." Dean nodded to Bobby and he smiled back.
"Morning Sam." Bobby exited and Dean began the morning rituals.
Ever since that day, ever since that final battle, ever since Sam broke his own body beyond repair, they had functioned like this. Dean getting up, before dawn, getting his brother up, changing his adult diaper, and washing him, brushing his teeth and hair, and getting him dressed for the day. Dean hated this, hated that his big, strong, smart brother had been reduced to this. Forced to live inside a body that was immobile, uncommunicative, and overall non-functional, forced to become dependant on others, when most of his life he had been so fiercely independent, so fiercely headstrong. And now, here he was, unable to wash himself, go to the bathroom by himself, feed himself, dress himself, anything. He couldn't even speak anymore. A broken body, and an intact mind and soul was not something that Dean ever wanted for his brother.
But in a way, this was his fault, he was the one responsible for his brother being in this current state. He was the one who had been selfish at the wrong moment and started the whole mess between heaven and hell, and he was the one responsible for Sam being in this sorry state of affairs.
Dean did his best to force his guilt down, to keep it out of sight, to keep Sam from seeing just how horrible he felt, because he couldn't let his brother's sacrifice go unappreciated. So, he took painstaking care of his little brother, like he had when Sam had been a newborn and Dad hadn't been able to keep up with him, because he couldn't function in his own grief. He was gentle, soothing, and warm, he fussed and he clucked, and he engaged in chick flicks, because Sam would want those, his Sam, not demon blood suped up Sam, but his baby brother, the one he raised would want to hear his chatter. So, Dean talked the entire time he was bathing Sam, dressing Sam, feeding Sam, and setting Sam up in his special chair for the day.
"Well, Sammy, today I have to spend part of the day under the Nelson's car. You want me to put you in the shade?" One blink. "You want that book on tape turned on too?" One blink. "It's a pretty good story. Shame I never let you talk me into it while we were hunting." Sam's eyes darted to his, and they looked like they were saying 'I told you so' despite the fact that his face was slack and spittle was starting to run down the side of his mouth. Dean pulled a handkerchief out of his jacket and wiped Sam's mouth without missing a beat. "I know I know. You kept telling me that if I would just try it I would like it. But, I just thought it was you being your geeky self." Dean sighed and adjusted his brother in his chair, making sure he was comfortable as possible. "You were right, you were right. You don't have to beat me up over it."
Dean wheeled Sam outside and parked his chair in the little shaded spot that Dean had secured for him. "Okay, I just need to do about another two hours worth of work. That okay?" One blink. "I think that will get us to finish up the book. I really wonder what happens. Next time you want to try a John Grisham?" he asked and Sam blinked three times. "Maybe? Yeah. I don't know. That chick at the library seems awful damn adamant about us trying it. Maybe she works for the guy." He said and turned on the CD and went underneath the car, and the two brothers listened to their book.
After the car, Dean changed Sam's adult diaper, and cleaned him up, and got him situated in the kitchen and he started fixing them both some lunch.
"So, that chick killed that guy? Wow. I so didn't see that coming. I was sure it was her ex-lover who did it, because that dude seemed like a homicidal maniac. You think so too?" Two blinks.
"Oh come on, don't tell me that you knew it was the chick?" Sam blinked once. "Bull shit. You didn't know." One blink.
"You've read the book before." One long stare. "Sammy! You should have told me you knew how the book ended. Dude. That's not fair." Dean sighed and sat down in front of his brother, put a bib around him, and started to feed him. Dean did his best to keep talking, because if he didn't, he would see this for what it was, a humiliation, a degradation. "So, there is a guy up in Washington state that is after a rawhead. New hunter I guess, he had to be informed to carry thing that make fire. God what an idiot. But I need to call him this afternoon and give him the details on how to torch the sucker and remind him to write it down this time. Something is going to get that guy and kill him. He's just too stupid to be a hunter."
Dean spent the rest of the day, researching hunts while Bobby was taking care of customers, fielding questions about demons from others, and taking care of and talking with Sam. Sam slept on and off through the day, and listened to his brother, and wished desperately that he could communicate with Dean, that he could help him with the research, help him with the car, go to the bathroom by himself, feed himself, dress himself. ANYTHING. But he made this sacrifice, so the world would continue, so Dean would be safe and alive, so Bobby would be okay. He did this for the greater good.
And like every single day before it, Dean wheeled Sam out onto the porch and sat down beside him and started talking about how beautiful the sun set was, and how nice it was to stay in one place, and be able to work with Bobby on cars, to have a normal life for once.
"You know." Dean started. "I understand why you wanted away, why you wanted normal. It's nice, not being in the car for days at a time, nice to come back to the same bed and know that you aren't spending someone else's money. Nice to be a real person again, make friends, acquaintances. It's nice." Dean said and took a swig of his beer. "I know why you did it Sammy. I know why you risked everything. I get it. I did the same thing. But I know you weren't banking on being stuck inside your own head for eternity. I know why you're body can't die. And I found the solution." Sam's eyes shifted as far as they would go. He strained to see his brother's face. He had wished and longed for the function of his body back but right now he was pissed, angry that his body didn't listen and cooperate, he needed to see Dean, know what he was planning on doing. Fear surged through his broken body like electricity.
Dean turned Sam's chair to face him. "If I die, you can die. If I take my life Sammy, then you can be free. No more having to have me clean you up, no more not being able to talk. Your soul can be free Sammy. What do you say?" Two blinks. Rapid and frantic. Two more blinks. Again rapid and frantic.
"No? Sammy? Why not? You can be free." Sam continued the no message and Dean sat in amazed silence.
"Sammy. Don't sacrifice your happiness just so I can live. Not worth it." Sam blinked once.
"It is worth it?" Sam blinked one more time. "I think your stupid Sammy." Dean sighed and rested against his chair. Sam sure thought it was worth it. And no matter how many times Dean asked, Sam said no. They would die together when they were good and old and not a moment before. Dean asked him long ago to remember what he taught Sam, and Sam did remember. Dean taught him that some sacrifices are worth more than your comfort, and having Dean beside him, alive and whole, was worth more than anything else.